Have you ever had that tremendously gratifying feeling that your professional life is on the perfect course? A deep, solid knowingness that you are doing exactly what you were meant to do on the planet? That in being your authentic self in your daily work and in utilizing your unique talents, gifts, and abilities you are making the significant contribution to the world that you'd hoped and prayed and dreamed of making?
It's a sense of calm and inner peace in knowing that all those years of angst-filled worry (high school, college, those torturous twenties flailing from entry job to slightly-better-paid entry job...) were all magically and fatefully designed to prepare you for what today is your ideal professional manifestation?
Well, at 47 years of age, I'm here to report to you that it's a wonderful feeling.
I had the enormous pleasure of co-producing the first inaugural Matchmakers Conference (https://www.MatchmakersConference.com) with Lisa Clampitt and Jerome Chasques, founders of The Matchmaking Institute. Nine months of planning, design, collaboration, dreaming and scheming went into this ambitious project and it was one of my life's most rewarding experiences to be there and see this virtual lovefest come to fruition. Not to mention -- we had an absolute BLAST!
Quick history: It was my very own gut-wrenching search for love, marriage, and a family which propelled me to try everything known to woman to identify and lasso my partner. My aggressive search led me to the dating service where I met Gil, now husband of 17 years. As fate would have it, Gil was the owner of the dating service that solved my problem, the jovial guy who smoothly charged up my credit cards to the tune of $1450, the 44-year-old confirmed bachelor whom I lassoed for Date Number One before the Visa bill hit my mailbox. A year later, 8 months pregnant with Alex, our first child, I joined Gil on the other side of the love search table, in natural payback fashion to help other aspiring lovers find each other with less torture and more fun than I'd had with the whole dating process.
In the course of these 17 years in this admittedly curious profession, I've attended dozens of dating industry events (franchise and licensee meetings, association gatherings, Internet dating conferences) and have squeezed every bit of juice out of each. I've truly loved every dating related gathering I've ever attended. Which is not to say that for me there wasn't also something missing. In a word -- it was HEART that I was often left craving. Topics always addressed? Search engine optimization, market share, newest lead generation trends, sales closing techniques, show rates, cost per lead statistics --that sort of content, which of course we need to study if we want to keep our doors open as business owners.
Nevertheless, I was always left with the feeling that the dating industry was being driven by people who were "in it" for the purposes of making money first and foremost, and that the mystery/magic/beauty/science/art of the joining of two souls -- that part of the work we do was always somehow left outside in the corridors of these hotel meeting rooms. Something was missing, leaving me with just a twinge of hunger.
Until the Matchmakers Conference.
Oh my goodness...the love juice was there...in grand form. 80 matchmakers flew from all corners of the world and sat spellbound as Helen Fisher enlightened us on the science of attraction, chemistry, and why we love. Patti Novak, acclaimed host of A&E's "Confessions of a Matchmaker" had us in tears of laughter as she spoke of and demonstrated the empathy, commitment, and deep respect she has for the human beings who are our clients. Mark Brooks framed the content with his fascinating state of the industry report, Paul Falzone and Terry Fitzpatrick (Together Dating and The Right One) Charlee Brotherton (Singles Station), and Bill Broadbent (Instinct Marketing) showed us that big, successful dating companies can operate with service, integrity, heart, soul AND profitability. Dating coach guru and eloquent wordsmith, Evan Marc Katz shed light on the responsibility we have to help our clients evolve and grow as individuals.
Oh, and the fact that Marcelle Fischler was at the conference to brilliantly cover the event for the NY Times? And the glorious commentary on my sweet company, Cupid's Coach? The best kind of gravy...!
The dating industry is growing up. For several years now we've had a great venue for the study and development of Internet dating -- another conference I'd never miss, Marc Lesnic'ks annual iDate event, so perfectly placed in Miami in the dead of winter, but also a place for personal matchmakers and dating coaches to gather and share.
The world is getting smaller, as technology enables us to synergize with like-minded kindred spirits all over the globe with simplicity and efficiency, expanding exponentially our ability to truly serve our clients. Those of us who are compelled to contribute to single love seekers, to enable connections and relationships that would without us never be? We have places now to convene.
The next Matchmakers Conference lovefest? September 19, 20, 21 2008. You can be sure that's where I'll be! Also I wouldn't miss the iDate conference, Jan 31/Feb. 1, Miami.
Julie Ferman, Cupid's Coach